Requiring Your Students to Visit

Requiring visits to the Writing Center is a good way to help your students expand their opportunities for feedback on their written work, spend time intentionally developing strategies and habits that will help them in writing for your class and beyond, and get acquainted with this campus resource. It's far preferable to require all your students to visit than to single anyone out.

If you’re thinking of requiring all your students to visit the Writing Center, let us know, and we can help you build this requirement into your course in a meaningful way. Here are some things to keep in mind: 

  • Let us know your students are coming: Talk to us about how you can make your required visits meaningful. The best way to reach us is at If you have specific concerns or areas you hope consultants can help your students, we can even have you give a short written or Zoom presentation at our staff meeting so consultants know what to expect. 

  • Consider when a consultation will be most helpful: Often, students don’t visit the Writing Center until they have a complete draft, but our consultants can also help writers when they’re just getting started. In fact, we recommend that writers plan a visit as early in the process as they can so they get the most out of their visit. (Although we’re always happy to work with writers at any stage of the process, we find when writers visit the center right before their assignment due date, we often can only focus on surface-level features in their work.) 

  • Set expectations with your students ahead of time: Talk to your students about the Writing Center, and please invite us to your class to give students a brief introduction to our services. Even if we talk with your students, however, it’s important that you also help them understand what you hope they’ll get from their visit, and why you think it’s important. You might even share your own experiences with writing centers, peer review, writing groups, and feedback from colleagues or peers to help students understand the value of working with others on their writing. 

  • Build in goal setting and reflection: Help students make the most of these visits by encouraging or requiring them to reflect on what they want out of the consultation ahead of time. This ensures students are prepared for their visit and have set concrete goals and expectations. You might also consider having students reflect on the consultation afterward, particularly if you want to focus on transfer of learning. 

  • Set flexible time windows: Because we have a limited number of available appointments each week, we strongly recommend you give students an extended period of time in which to visit the Writing Center, to enable us to accommodate your class. For small classes, at least a two-week window can work. If your class is larger than 25 or so, however, we'll need to work with you on the logistics. Dividing the class into groups and requiring different groups visit during different weeks can also help ensure that your students and others will be able to find slots that work for them on our schedule. This option can work especially well if you want to encourage students to try visiting the Writing Center at different stages in their research and writing processes.